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published: 2011-05-28

D.H. Lawrence. Peculiarly, I always remember one thing about his Sons & Lovers. It’s the scene with the swing. And how in our literature class my teacher told us that scene was a symbol of budding sexuality.
What of the slide? Somehow, my son had managed to persuade me to endeavour a 20 meter climb to the top of a fake tree. There was only one way down: the slide. We had watched kids his age and older come out of the other end. Especially 8-yr-old girls screamed their way down, at the top of their lungs. My son took this quite seriously. He looked increasingly worried. I tried to explain they were just screaming for the sake of screaming. This is what girls do, sometimes. Would my literature teacher argue they were budding?
Anyway, we climbed up this tree monstrosity together. The second we reached the top, one of those screaming girls gravely stated it was a “vey very scary slide, and dark, and twirly and really really fast.” My son rapidly changed his mind. He disappeared back down the tube we climbed up and there was no way I was going to fit through it that way. Leaving me onlye one choice: to take the slide.
I stood there contemplating this for a while. As a kid that age, there was no way I would have ever taken that slide. I was the scaredy-cat kid. I never climbed trees, or took any other physical risks for that matter. It took me ages to learn to bike ride and so on.
So here I stood realizing I have finally become the kind of person who takes a scary slide. It’s taken me almost fourty years. Believe me, I was the only mother up there. Did I hesitate? No.
I gladly took the plunge into the great unknown. And yes, it was dark. It was fast. It was scary. And I screamed.

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